Saturday, July 22, 2006

8:30 a.m. - The Opposite Of Hallelujah

After forcing myself to wake up at 8:30 after being out 'til 2 at the Jens Lekman show, and 1.5 hours of travel time (due to multiple unexpected train changes), I arrived at the Union Square Greenmarket a bit sweaty and worse for wear. Luckily, I encountered strawberries and more compensations immediately, and couldn't regret the trip (or the sleep deprivation) one bit. Also, I would pretty much go to hell and back for Jens. (I think the coffee probably helped, too.)

The takings:
5 ears bicolor corn (for a barbecue tonight)
1 pint strawberries
1 lb. cherries
3/4 lb. tricolor snap beans
3/4 lb. tiny Yukon Gold potatoes
1/3 lb. salad mix
1 lb. shell peas
5 yellow peaches
3 Shiro plums
Total spent: $25-$30 (I stopped counting)

Forgive the photo background - my photo assistant was out of town. After photos and eating all the cherries and strawberries that didn't fit in my tupperware, I proceeded to make what will go down in history as the Greatest Lunch Ever, which was a bay shrimp-stuffed salmon fillet from Trader Joe's with oven-roasted green beans and Yukon Golds.

The green beans were from last week, and turned out perfect: I left them whole, blanched them for about 30 seconds, then, after they were completely cooled by cold water, tossed them with a little olive oil and sea salt, and roasted them in a 375-degree oven for 10 minutes, turning once. Similarly, the potatoes turned out divine - I cut the little guys in half, tossed with olive oil and salt, and roasted them along with my fish for 25 minutes. They were creamy and full of potato flavor, which is a weird thing to imagine until you taste it.

Very excited about the tricolor snap beans. The cute boy at the produce stand thrust a yellow bean into my hand, which I munched obediently - the beans are sweet enough to be delicious raw. I think a blanch and quick saute in some olive oil will take them to new heights. Meanwhile, I'm guessing produce boy has no trouble with the ladies.

The shell peas I bought for a recipe, but I've never had freshly shelled peas before, so I might prepare them simply - braised or sauteed in a little butter.

Strawberries felt like another miracle (especially given my rough morning). And unfortunately, I found out from a grower that the cherry season is on its way out, as well. There were certainly fewer cherry vendors this week than there have been for the last month or so, but I hope they'll last at least another week or two...I'm not ready to give up having fresh cherries whenever I want them!

Now reading: What To Eat by Marion Nestle. This was recommended by a friend, and is a clear, unromantic look at supermarket food offerings - from the health/political/environmental benefits of organic vs. locally-grown vs. conventional produce, to an explanation of what trans-fats actually are, to investigating the different sides of the health claims made for soy products, it's been quite educational thus far, and her writing style is compelling. Though her initial conclusion - that the best thing you can do for your health is eat more fruits and vegetables and exercise, and that successful weight loss/maintenance is based on calore consumption, are not revolutionary, they're certainly easily obscured by the marketing arms of the food industries she discusses.

Basil plant update: The remaining plant looks to be thriving, with lost of new little leaves, though an alarming yellowness is showing up near the roots of the plant. I've got to start cooking with basil pretty soon - there are some big leaves up top that need trimming.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Anna, your pictures are scrumptious, as are your recipes. You have a great future as a guru of local and seasonal eating. Your basil plant needs nitrogen. An immediate dose of Miracle Grow will work wonders, fi you don't mind being inorganic; I would recommend manure tea, but thinking of where you live...

Have you ever tried fingerling potatoes? I am growing Rose Finn Apple. They look like misshapen sausages. You roast them with whole garlic in a little olive oil and rosemary. Cheers.